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04/09/2013 19:00
Getting to know: Russia's golden boy Viktor Poletaev
News from the National Federations

Kazan, Russia, September 4, 2013. Viktor Poletaev is the golden boy of Russian Volleyball; in only six months the 18-year old opposite player won gold in all major tournaments he entered, starting with the 2013 CEV Youth Volleyball European Championship held this past April in Bosnia and Herzegovina, to continue with the FIVB Men’s U19 World Championship in Mexico, the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Utrecht, and this past Sunday the FIVB Men’s U21 World Championship in Ankara. Though he was one of the youngest players starring in the tournament held in Turkey’s capital city, Poletaev was named MVP at the end of the competition where Russia won gold edging Brazil in the final.
Viktor just got back home in Kazan and is sharing some impressions from the past months where he sky-rocketed to the top of world’s Volleyball. “Though the final game of the Championship was evidently supposed to be the toughest match for us in Turkey, everything went just easy for us and at a certain moment we really enjoyed the game. We shall stress out that Brazil did not really show what they are capable of. They probably had needed much energy in their semifinal with Italy and were tired at the end of the tournament. However, I am happy that once more – as it happened at the Olympics and the World League Finals this year – Russia beat Brazil. In the end the most difficult game we had there in Turkey was the last of the pool play where we lost to Italy 2:3”.

What about his nomination – at only 18 years of age – as MVP of the Championship? “I was very surprised especially since I am much younger than most of the players who starred there. The MVP is most commonly a member of the team that wins gold; so this individual award was a very nice addition to our result as a team”.
Though he is part of the roster of one of Russia’s most decorated teams, Zenit KAZAN, Viktor was born in Chelyabinsk, where his parents still reside. “I will have a break of two weeks now and just want to go home and spend some time with my family. I know they miss me and worry about me when I am traveling around”.

Poletaev stands “only” at 193 cm, so some people are afraid that when he moves up to the senior division, he may not be able to stand the competition brought by players who are taller and also physically stronger. “So far I could compensate for this deficiency with my jump power as I reach 360 cm. However, as I move from the youth and junior category to senior Volleyball, if this is not enough, I may switch from opposite to outside hitter”.

Viktor started playing Volleyball in second-grade school and was introduced to the sport by his father. “Some scoutmen from Kazan did notice me as I was playing in a youth tournament. Two years ago I decided to try to pursue a career in Volleyball and moved to Tatarstan. Zenit KAZAN is one of the best teams in Europe and I feel privileged to be here alongside many stars”. In his spare time Poletaev enjoys going to the cinema with his girlfriend or just takes a walk through the streets of Kazan. “Of course, when the weekend comes, I like to sleep a bit longer” he acknowledges. His partner is Varya Lebedeva, a young player who is included on the roster of Russia’s champions Dinamo KAZAN.

“We do not have any plans to get married, we are still too young, I think. My priority is to work hard not to dissipate what I have achieved during my youth and turn this hard work into a professional career in Volleyball. To achieve this goal, I do not have to think about the past, but look forward to the future. As soon as possible I would like to become a regular member of the roster of Zenit KAZAN”.

There in the capital city of Tatarstan the young Viktor has the role model to look at. “Maxim Mikhaylov is the player that I admire the most, for me he embodies the ideal Volleyball player. Our head coach Vladimir Alekno has decided to include me in the first team and it was nice to train with Maxim and other famous players. They are all extremely supportive and help me with their advice”.

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